Author ~ Lily G. Blunt
Published ~ 3 June 2016
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance, Paranormal, Taboo
New house, new job. A new start with his brother….
Two out of three isn’t bad, right?
Rhys returns to his hometown and must face the brother he’s been avoiding for two years. In his heart, Rhys still hopes to recapture the bond they once shared.
Jake willingly offers him the hand of friendship, but Rhys is reluctant to confront their past, fearing it will only rip them apart again.
When Rhys sees ghostly figures in the grounds of a local historic house, it leads him to investigate their shocking past—and to face his heart’s true desire.
I really enjoyed this story, my first by Lily G. Blunt. I’ve read a few books with the taboo subject of incest between brothers, some obviously written just for the titillation of the subject matter and others as a romantic love story and this one falls squarely into the latter category. Let Your Heart Decide is the story of two men who grew up together and fell in love. Fooling around as teenagers discovering sex, going their separate ways, meeting and dating other people, but each always knowing in their hearts just who they are destined to love. It just so happens that these two men are brothers.
Other than the prologue told from Jake’s POV, the story is told entirely from Rhys’ side. I loved this set up as the prologue tells of the events occurring the last time the two brothers saw each other and Jake’s viewpoint there makes clear how devastated he was when the moment of joy he’s waited years for becomes his worst nightmare. We know just from that where Jake stands, so now it is up to Rhys to decide what the future will hold.
Picking up two years down the road, Rhys is just out of a relationship and has moved back to his hometown from London, gotten a new job and is set on mending the rift with his brother Jake. Since the night recounted in the prologue the two brothers have had minimal phone contact and haven’t seen each other at all.
Rhys is still haunted by guilt from that night he left. On one hand, he accepts his feelings for Jake and the fact that he wants more than just a brotherly relationship, yet when he thinks of what others may see, he begins to second guess himself. He is truly torn between knowing that Jake is the only person he could ever truly love with all his heart and soul, yet fearing what others will think and how it would realistically impact the life he would want to live with him. Now that he is in his new home, he is also haunted by the strange figures he sees in the woods and on the grounds of the old manor behind his house. His neighbors, Philip and his mother Clare, fill him in on the tales surrounding the house and the lives of the people who once lived there, convincing Rhys that he is actually seeing their ghosts.
This was a beautifully written and thoughtful story. The relationship between the brothers takes center stage, with the ghost story complementing it. I didn’t feel the romance was played for shock value, but it felt organic and pure as any other two men falling for each other. The brothers reminisce about growing up together and through that the reader is given good insight into the closeness the two always shared, their sexual explorations as teens sharing a bedroom and how it continued into adulthood.
As close as the two brothers are, they also have their differences. Jake wears his heart on his sleeve and says what’s on his mind. You can sense his pain whenever he is with Rhys and doing his best to hold back his feelings for his brother’s sake. His love and devotion to Rhys is never in doubt and it is clear that difficult as it may be, he wants a relationship with him regardless of the terms. Rhys is more logical in his thoughts. He runs through all the possibilities, all the potential pitfalls and more before deciding how to move forward. They have great chemistry and an amazing connection that, even with the distance, was never truly broken.
I’m not going to spoil things, but the reactions presented when most people found out about their relationship did not really ring true for me, even with the way it was set up. I did find their father’s take on the news interesting and really not all that hard to believe, but still, not sure if it was very realistic. Other than this minor point, the story pulled me in, the characters grabbed me and I wanted to read more.
There is no coercion, no power plays, it is all consensual as teens and as adults. Rhys and Jake love each other deeply. If you’re intrigued by this type of taboo “brocest” story, but were wary, I think this one would be a good way to dip your toe into the pool. I would recommend this for anyone who is open minded to a story about a love so deep any risks are worth it. I for one would love to read more about how Rhys and Jake fare going forward with this unconventional relationship.
Meet Lily G. Blunt
Lily G. Blunt writes contemporary gay romance. She loves to explore the relationship between two men and the intensity of their physical and emotional attraction. Angst often features in her stories as she feels this demonstrates the depth of the men's feelings for each other. Lily is forever writing imaginary scenes and plots in her head, but only a few ever make it to the page. There never seems to be enough hours in the day despite having left the teaching profession to concentrate on her writing!
Lily discovered the wonderful world of m/m romance novels five years ago via fan fiction and went on to write stories in her spare time. With the encouragement of her friends and readers she decided to publish some of her work. Lily subsequently self-published several stories and later published short stories with Torquere Press, Wayward Ink Publishing, and Pride Publishing.
Lily is an avid supporter of GLBTQ rights and advocates equality for all. She was recently a steward for Pride in London. She lives in central England with her rather bemused husband and a 'mad as a bag of frogs' Shetland Sheepdog called Barney.